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Tim Harford is the author of the bestseller The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life and a member of the editorial board of the Financial Times, where he also writes the "Dear Economist" column. He is a regular contributor to Slate, Forbes, and NPR's Marketplace. He was the host of the BBC TV series Trust Me, I'm an Economist and now presents the BBC series More or Less. Harford has been an economist at the World Bank and an economics tutor at Oxford University. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters. From the Hardcover edition.
Financial Times and Slate.com columnist Harford (The Undercover Economist) provides an entertaining and provocative look at the logic behind the seemingly irrational. Arguing that rational behavior is more widespread than most people expect, Harford uses economic principles to draw forth the rational elements of gambling, the teenage oral sex craze, crime and other supposedly illogical behaviors to illustrate his larger point. Utilizing John von Neumann and Thomas Schelling's conceptions of game theory, Harford applies their approach to a multitude of arenas, including marriage, the workplace and racism. Contrarily, he also shows that individual rational behavior doesn't always lead to socially desired outcomes. Harford concludes with how to apply this thinking on an even bigger scale, showing how rational behavior shapes cities, politics and the entire history of human civilization. Well-written with highly engaging stories and examples, this book will be of great interest to Freakonomics and Blink fans as well as anyone interested in the psychology of human behavior. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"Highly readable, funny and daringly contentious . . . a whopping good time." -San Francisco Chronicle "[Tim] Harford sets off on an enormously entertaining yarn backed by the findings of expert economists. He spins playfully, but smartly, across matters of sex, crime, gambling, addiction, marriage, racism, ghettos and politics, and he makes it all, well, titillating at times. Really." -USA Today "Harford has a knack for explaining economic principles and problems in plain language and, even better, for making them fun." -The New York Times "[Harford] is an amiable guide for the non-specialist reader . . . but his command of the subject is such that even a well-schooled economist will discover much that is new." -The Economist "Highly engaging . . . entertaining and provocative." -Publishers Weekly "A fascinating work with many 'aha' moments." -Booklist "Smart, charming, penetrating, and wise." -Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics "Chock-full of numbers and money talk, but oddly entertaining." -Kirkus Reviews "Charming and informative." -Newsday "Like Harford's earlier book, The Undercover Economist-if you haven't got it, get it-this book uses the basic theory of rational choice to make transparent the logic behind common but important puzzling phenomena. Even a trained economist can enjoy discovering what he didn't realize he already knew. I did." -Thomas C. Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics "This witty, intelligent book will help you see the entire world in a new light." -Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist